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Yeowch... Dying Mackie 24X4 mixer...

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by The_Terg, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. The_Terg

    The_Terg Active Member

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    yea, I got to school this morning to find that our main mixer, the Mackie 24X4 thats about 4 years old, is dying. The left channel was shorting internally, on all the channels, pre-level meter. It occurred right before a morning showing of the play for the school, so I had to quick run up to the sound rack and run our main mix speakers to one channel of the amp. (owch!) She's dying, and I dont even know if it will last later today, and over the weekend, when the real performances begin.

    We have a temporary backup-an old but capable sound board. After this show, we will probably end up sending the board out for repair. My question however is this: if I were in the position to buy a board of similar cost, what are some good reccomendations?

    I would need a 24 channel board minimum, with atleast 6 aux outputs. Subs are optional. No other preferences but QUALITY!
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Howdy,
    well you got 4 years out of a Mackie--thats pretty good considering they have a life span of about 2 years before you have problems. If I may make a suggestion--the Mackie is not worth fixing for several reasons. First--cost and time you will be without it is not worth it--plus most Mackie repairs will take you about 6 months to get back even tho they will tell you 2 months or less. Second--the cost to repair the mackie is about the same as buying a new mackie... Its no longer under warranty, and since Mackie guts and circuits are stuck on nearly all one main circuit board inside, the thing they end up doing most is trashing the broken board and selling you a new circuit board. Thats right--all the faders and all the bells and whistles are on ONE proprietary circuit board. Repair is usually haphazard, and if you have one failure you are surely going to have more. Replacing the board is the BEST way to go IMO... You won't be spending the costs of repairs & shipping, and the down time you will be without the console and will have to subrent a replacement (or borrow if you are lucky). Suggest you make the suggestion that cost wise--its not a good choice to have the Mackie repaired. They are very disposable consoles...they work, the break, they get tossed. Now whether you buy another Mackie so you can have future breakdown problems quickly, or buy a quality console is up to you.

    Some more QUALITY oriented consoles that will last you a good while would be Allen & Heath, Yamaha, Ramsa, Crest & Soundcraft. They will cost more then your average Mackie of course--but they will last a LOT longer and be more serviciable and give you better sound quality & features... If you need six auxes--usually not a problem...but I would suggest you check into the auxes and other features you want in detail. Reson being--and I'm sure you are familiar with this--some of the auxes, like 3,4 are also 5,6 at the push of a switch--which truely only gives you 4 auxes to use, and the other two can be swapped in--but if you have a channel that has to go to ALL 6 auxes--you're screwed. Think about some of the features you want--then check out the brands I suggested. I'm sure you can find some very flexible and very good boards that will give you 6 auxes and thensome from those listed...

    My 2 cents...

    -wolf
     
  3. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    LOL lets diss mackie! nice call wolf, id totally agree! we have a 28channel soundcraft at work that is 6years old and is just on its way out! none of the subgroups work anymore, and its probably only an 18channel in reality haha.... we have just bought a new strand 520i so the sound desk is on next year's budget, not that i care.... im lighting =)

    I did a show a couple of months ago with an A&H 38 channel, great desk! i would recommend the GL series too anyone, even a smaller one for schools.... great durable desk and they last just abit longer than soundcraft ;)
     
  4. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    well I'm not trying to diss Mackie totally...in fact with Mackie gear, just speaking the truth about the gear & its performance is diss enough in most cases ;)
    The A&H gear is very nice stuff--GL's are cool...soundcraft is also very nice--I like the MH & series 5 myself. In general--you should be able to get at least 6-12 years out of a good sound console, especially one that stays in one place and doesn't tour, with no major problems (excluding user error and the occasional soda that gets dumped into it). Mackie...well Mackie is the only thing I know of that deteriorates while still in the packaging before it gets sold..its like it should be sold with a "best if used before" expiration date on it, like Milk is. :roll:

    Again tho--just my opinion based on using the gear and watching it break before my very eyes. As many folks that you can find who hate Mackie--you can find a group who loves them and swears by them...and hey if it works for them then thats great. Not tryin to start a Mackie-war on here...just can only report on it based on my all too many experiences with it.


    cheers!
    -wolf
     
  5. DMXtools

    DMXtools Active Member

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    I'm cheap. I've got an 8-bus Mackie in the studio and a 4-bus Peavey for live work. Both are about 6 years old.

    Mackie has some nice features in their 8-bus - the 24-channel unit has 444 pushbuttons, many of which do signal routing tricks I used to need a patch panel for. The problem is the switches themselves are a high-failure item. None of them has actually stopped working, but over about the last year or so it's gotten to where I need to push some of the buttons 4 or 5 times to get them to work. One of these years, when I have a week to spare, I need to open it up and clean them. Need to clean some of the insert jacks, too. Still, the $2500 pricetag for a 24-channel 8-bus board wasn't hard to handle, and the sound quality has been good. Go to my website and drill down through "about us" "autobiographical notes" and you can find an mp3 sample from a recent (November, 2003) session - it still sounds good inspite of the dirty switches.

    The Peavey, on the other hand, is a road warrior. After 6 years of being plugged and unplugged two or three times a week, a couple of the XLRs are starting to get flakey. It's an SRC-4026, built into a road case. The cover latches lasted less than 2 years - for the last four, I've duct-taped the cover on for transport.

    The Peavey carried about the same pricetage, but doesn't have all the whistles and bells of the Mackie. It's got 4-band EQ, but the mids are not sweepable. No "mix B" and' like I said, it's a 4-bus. But it's got 6 true aux sends , 4 strictly pre-fader and two switchable pre or post. It's got 24 channel strips - 20 have both XLR and mono 1/4 inch inputs, two have strictly XLR, but include phase switches, and two are stereo inputs (pairs of 1/4" mono phone jacks) for connecting a couple CD players or similar items. These two channel strips don't have inserts, the other 22 do, as well as the four submasters and left and right mains.

    The board has true 48 volt phantom power. Unfortunately, it's all-or-nothing: one switch turns it on for all XLRs - you can't turn it on or off for individual channels.

    It also has a mono main-mix output which gets more use than the separate left and right outputs. With a stereo mix, there's a "sweet spot" near the center of the room where you can hear everything. People off to one side or the other only get part of the sound. With a mono mix, you lose the position information, but everybody hears everything no matter where in the room they are.

    I'm recommending you look at Peavey. Oh, if you hook up a white noise generator and a spectrum analyzer, or a distortion analyzer, you'll find the Mackie is a little cleaner, but my ears can't tell the difference. Meanwhile, the Peavey has stood up very well to life on the road, while the Mackie is deteriorating in the coddled environment of the studio. Even though you're talking about a permanent installation, in a high school a mixer is likely to be accidentally abused by barely-trained amateurs. Rugged should probably be an important factor in your decision and, if nothing else, Peavey gear is that

    John
     
  6. seanb

    seanb Member

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    another vote for the Allen Heath GL series. I'm on a GL4 and love it dearly... great desk. The GL4000 is the comparable model now.
     
  7. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    god, 24 channels, i wouldn't know what to do with all of them, My sound board has 8, and 2 of them are for a cd player, and we still rarely fill them all.......
     
  8. The_Terg

    The_Terg Active Member

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    Well, thankfully, the board did survive the night.

    I really have little say in the matter, as my school probably won't be buying us a sound board for atleast a year (that is my guess...). I'm just looking for an alternative, if by some lucky twist of fate, the school wanted to buy a new board.

    Ideally, i would want something as close to the mackie as possible. Here are some more of my nitpicks:
    6 auxes (seperate) atleast 4 must be post fader- for sidefill speakers, booth speakers, video sends... etc.
    Atleast 1 sweeping midrange EQ filter - I use it very much, and I really have gotten used to it.
    Cheapish. Something that our school will find reasonable. (around the price of the mackie, I'd say under 5K.)

    Besides the allen heath boards and peavey, does any1 have any other boards that they would personally suggest for this application? Im having slight difficulty finding a closeup channel picture for each board.
     
  9. seanb

    seanb Member

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    actually, I just checked and you could get away with the Allen Heath MixWiz 16, 14, or 12. They are the smallest boards I can think of with 6 Aux. They have two post, two pre, two switchable. Also, they have two sweepable mids, plus high and low. Switchable HPF. I use the 16 as a backup board, and I like it a fair bit. Built in effects. I think we got ours for about $5000 canadian, but I can't remember exactly.
     
  10. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Here's another for ya.... Midas (the Venice series) also has an "affordable" console out there for the user market that understandably cannot afford the real-estate prices of most consoles... The pre-amps in the Midas are VERY nice, the EQ leaves me a bit unhappy and so do the 60mm faders instead of 100mm, but it has 6 auxes... Its "ok" for the money and is similar in price to the Mackie and more durable and longer lasting... Its quieter...but a little lacking on features then I would like.

    Also, If you go to the Soundcraft website they have a pdf file you can get for any console they have that gives youa channel pic and descriptions of every button and function.

    -wolf
     
  11. The_Terg

    The_Terg Active Member

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    mmm. yes. I'm digging the look of the Soundcraft Spirit LX7....

    What would the differences between the Allen+Heath GL2200 and the Soundcraft LX7? I see as much as a 1K$ price difference; what causes that?

    Oooh, Wouldn't it be nice if the school would shell out 8k$ for an A&H ML3000....... ;)
     
  12. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Well..I'm not going to tout one brand or the other--cause both are good boards IMO. But in terms of features--the A&H GL2200 has more bells and whistles for that $1k difference. The A&H has signal lights for each channel which is VERY helpful--the Spirt has none--you have to PFL to see signal on the main LED's, like on the Mackie. The A&H also has individual channel 48v Phantom where the Soundcraft is global phantom--and individual channel phanton is good to have cause if the glbal phantom should die--all your channels die--where if you loose a channel of phantom you can switch channels. The A&H also has a PAD and a Phase reverse switch on each channel--I don't see those on the LX7. While the Auxes on the A&H are grouped into 1-4 pre/post and 5-6 pre/post switch, on the LX7 you have the advantage of them being grouped pre/post in pairs--so thats a perk for the LX7. Both have 100mm faders--and IMO the A&H faders are exceptionally smooth usually. The A&H has returns on short throw faders instead of pots with a LP and HP EQ (basically--a small input channel all itself!) where the returns are just pots on the LX7, and while the soundcraft you can assign your channels to individual groups, the A&H you can only assign in group pairs. The A&H has an oscillator in its "tool box" feature where you can test lines and signals and send tone down to speakers or auxes etc, while the Spirit does not. The A&H is a LCR console where the LX is a L&R console. Both have dual sweeps in the EQ, but check your frequency's on those EQ's to see if the fixed ones are something you like the idea of having or now--for example, some EQ's fixed will sweep at 16-18k (WHY?)...some lows will be at 70hz, others at 50hz...its a matter of preference. I think the A&H is around 10 or 12k--which is ok...but its worth checking into. Both I believe have fixed HPF at 100hz..which is ok unless you are used to a sweepable HPF. Both have their perks but its a matter of preference. Overall I would think for that extra $1k (about $700 +/- retail difference really) that you are getting a ton more pro-features on the A&H GL2200 then the LX7.

    just my thoughts...

    -wolf
     
  13. tinears3938

    tinears3938 Member

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    I have owned a sound and light co. for years the best board I have for the buck is a Teac Tascam its going on 13 years old with no repairs ever needed!!!!!!!!! I hear good things about Behringer mixers we have some of their signal processers & have had no down time
     
  14. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    You will find that the behringer and phonic design is almost identical, although phonic are crap and can not stand up to nearly as much as a behringer desk, I have been using a behringer for 2years now and have found it too be a good desk, but it has a number of faults and annoying features that are ment to be "good" but really arnt :p

    Just my opinion =)
     
  15. SAtkins

    SAtkins Member

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    Midas Verona lol jk outta ur price rangle lol. i would say try the A&H GL2400, they have 8 aux and all are pre/post switchable (great for monitors too!!!!!!) 24 channel is around 2 grand. nod bad for the schools wallet, when i was in school we had a sound craft 16 channel. this was 2 years ago lol it was 12 yrs old. it was replace by the mackie 32x4 and i hated it. well thats my.02
     
  16. AVGuyAndy

    AVGuyAndy Active Member

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    Why did run the speakers from one channel of the amp. Apparently you are running mono anyway. You could have just split the right channel.
     
  17. sound_nerd

    sound_nerd Active Member

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    I used a Soundcraft LX-7 for the last musical I did. I was quite impressed with it, and it's very easy to learn.
     
  18. tblan

    tblan Member

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    Our theater's Mackie died last year and we purchased a A&H gl2400. I've been mixing on it for about a year and have been very happy with it. I would also recommend the Midas Venice. If you get one of those you will never have to replace your board again.
     
  19. Scooter

    Scooter Member

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    well, we have a mackie 32*8 at school that had the all known ribbion problem, but we got that fixed and it's been workin fine for now. (it's about 4 years old) Before that we had a Soundcraft Spirit24 (i think) and it was absolut CRAP! only about 13 channels worked, and L mix a was burnt out and R mix b was burnt out and it was noisy and horrible. I have also hade bad expirences with yamaha's, but i got by, they got the job done.

    but, i would have to recomend anything by A&H. my very own board for my own use is a 16 channel GL3 and haven't had a single problem with it.

    hope this helps somewhat
     
  20. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    We have an 8 year old Mackie SR32-4 and it is in great condition (minus a dead talkback jack) if you are careful things survive alot longer!
     

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